Rowe makes strides as leader in men’s tennis



By Eric Chima

There was a time when most conversations about the men’s tennis team’s No. 2 player, Ryan Rowe, centered on his demeanor, the way he could let a single frustrating point snowball into two games. But since the spring season began, the big player with a volatile game has turned into one of the team’s rocks, dispatching all comers and losing just a single set in seven matches. On Wednesday, his performance was rewarded with his first Big Ten Player of the Week honor.

Rowe received the award for the week ending February 11, a week that saw him win handily in both singles and doubles against No. 20 Texas A&M.; On Tuesday, he recovered from a disappointing doubles performance against No. 7 Florida to whip Greg Oullette, the No. 16 player in the country, 7-6(2), 6-3.

“That’s a great win for Ryan Rowe,” coach Brad Dancer said after the match. “I saw some emotional maturity from him. I think Ryan tonight took a step in being a leader for this team.”

Rowe won an NCAA doubles championship with teammate Kevin Anderson last year, but usually played around the fourth spot in the Illinois singles lineup. This year he earned the No. 11 ranking in the country and moved up to the No. 2 spot on the team without missing a beat.

Six of Rowe’s wins have come against ranked teams and three have come over ranked players.

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